It is the Nabarima, which is almost 300 meters long and is used as a platform for the state-owned PDVSA. Silence of the government of Nicolás Maduro.
The picture of a huge oil tanker that leaks and leaning to one side off a remote Venezuelan coast has sparked renewed international calls for a colossal spill of historic proportions to be prevented.
After years of neglect, the FSO Nabarima, a rusty monster of the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA that transports more than a million barrels of heavy crude, is in a dangerous state of disrepair. Although the extent of the damage is unknown, if it is not repaired soon it could sink and unleash a gigantic environmental disaster, polluting the turquoise blue waters along the Venezuelan coasts and several neighboring Caribbean nations, say maritime experts and critics of the Caracas government.
To exacerbate concerns, the Chavista regime has made no statements about its plans for the ship. Y He has only sent ships to survey the area.
The situation suffered by the Nabarima ship is not new, but the risk of an imminent capsize has raised all the alarms. Recent photos of the boat show how, day by day, it sinks a little more.
Oil workers opposed to the government, such as Eudis Girot, director of the Unitary Federation of Oil Workers of Venezuela, have launched a campaign for President Nicolás Maduro to pay attention to the situation. “I invite the President of the Republic to get on a helicopter, to go to Nabarima, to do an inspection himself,” Girot said in a video posted on the internet a few days ago. He also published three photographs of what he claims is the ship’s engine room flooded. “I wish I was wrong, by God”, he claimed.
The Venezuelan-flagged Nabarima is a 264-meter-long (long) vessel that is believed to be filled almost to its maximum capacity with 1.4 million barrels of crude, an amount almost five times greater than that spilled by the Exxon Valdez in 1989.
The ship was used as a stationary platform anchored in the Gulf of Paria with the aim of helping the export of Venezuelan oil. But it was left inactive after the recent collapse in global energy demand due to the pandemic and the White House sanctions against the Maduro government, which have scared off potential buyers of the heavy crude that Venezuela produces.
Critics of the deteriorating state oil company point out that the double-hull vessel – built in 2005 by South Korea’s Samsung for ConocoPhillips – it’s just one example of corruption and mismanagement by Chavismo that has bankrupted the oil industry, which for decades brought prosperity to the country.
Venezuela, once the paradise of oil, perceives today less than 1% of billions of dollars that he obtained in the past by selling his infinite black gold. The crisis is such that Maduro recently broke the silence on the country’s income and admitted that Caracas has stopped receiving 65,000 million dollars since 2014, when poverty became law. The context is an economy 90% smaller than seven years ago, an 82% devaluation under the pandemic, accumulated inflation that already exceeds 1,000% and corruption and terrible administration as pivots of the country’s collapse.
Caracas, which exported almost 100 billion dollars in crude oil in 2012, in the second quarter of 2020 it barely sold 500 millionsaid legislator Angel Alvarado from Parliament’s Finance committee.
“That ship would not be in this state if not for negligence and stupidity”Said Russ Dalle, director of Caracas Capital Markets, a company that closely monitors Venezuela’s maritime industry. An industry executive, who spoke to The Associated Press news agency with reservation of anonymity for fear of retaliation, said the lack of maintenance damaged valves in the ballast system used to stabilize the ship.
Currently, the ship has a dangerous tilt of more than 5 degrees to its right side, said the executive. Maritime tracking data indicates that has sunk about 14.5 meters, right up to the waterline, a sign of excess weight.
A possible spill in the shallow sea that Venezuela shares with Trinidad and Tobago could damage fragile mangroves, as well as marine and bird sanctuaries. The situation has caused alarm in Trinidad and the nearby Dutch islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.
Guyana media reported that the Civil Defense Commission of that country remains alert to the situation, together with the Executive of Trinidad and Tobago and now with the support of CDEMA, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Authority, which joined the Trinidadian government in monitoring a possible spill.
To avoid an environmental disaster, PDVSA would have to transfer the oil to another vessel in a dangerous maneuver. But US sanctions that prohibit US agencies from doing business with Venezuela could deter many foreign companies from getting involved in the operation.
However, Italian oil company ENI, which operates the Petrosucre joint venture as a minority partner with PDVSA, said in a statement that there is currently no risk of an oil spill. The ship is “stable” and that it works with PDVSA to unload the oil from Nabarima, ENI said.